Becoming one of Real Madrid’s famed Galacticos comes with its very own set of extraordinary pressures.
Indeed, there isn’t a fanbase in world football that is as demanding as Real Madrid’s which means the pressure on the newly arrived Galacticos is incomparable.
It doesn’t matter who a player is or what they’ve accomplished in the past, the Madridistas want to be entertained from day one and won’t give any player a free pass. It is very much a case of sink or swim in the Spanish capital.
In the instance of Eden Hazard, the Belgian’s time at Real Madrid since leaving Chelsea in 2019 has been nothing short of a nightmare.
In fact, if one scrolls through the internet they will see many Real Madrid fanzines have given Hazard the unwanted honor of naming him in their Real Madrid all-time XI of flops.
There is, however, still time for the 30-year-old to reverse the narrative that has dominated his time at the Bernabéu.
Indeed, atonement can come from helping Real Madrid win the Champions League.
It will of course be far from straightforward as Madrid find themselves at 9/2 in the latest Champions League odds to win the tournament, but those long odds provide Hazard with the perfect chance to be a hero.
Standing in Real Madrid’s way in the semi-final is Hazard’s former team Chelsea which once again just adds to the intriguing subplot.
Indeed, before Hazard left Chelsea in 2019 to sign for Madrid, the winger had won Chelsea’s Player of the Year award four times and made himself a fan favorite at Stamford Bridge.
Hazard would eventually go on to play 352 times for Chelsea whilst scoring 110 goals and assisting a further 92 in what can only be described as a sensational career with the southwest London side.
It goes without saying but Hazard’s phenomenal record at Stamford Bridge is in stark contrast to his one at Real Madrid.
As many as eight injuries have kept the winger on the sidelines over the last two years and astonishingly, Hazard has made just 38 appearances for Real Madrid since signing in 2019.
Perhaps there would be more sympathy shown to the 30-year-old had he not arrived seven kilos overweight for his first pre-season with Real Madrid.
Indeed, the feeling is that the Belgian’s fluctuating waistline has been the reason for most of his injuries, whilst that may be somewhat unfair, one can’t help but wonder if the former Chelsea player has done enough to keep himself fit whilst recovering.
The issue of Hazard’s weight has been an ongoing conversation during his time at Madrid and one that he is almost certainly aware of.
This is perhaps why the football world saw a trimmed-down version of Hazard for just over ten minutes against Real Betis in his comeback match in late April.
It was just the third time the Belgian had played in La Liga this season but he looked lively and back to his best.
This sprightly return comes at a time when Madrid need a miracle or two on the continent.
Everyone connected to Real Madrid will be hoping that the man the club paid £89 million for will be able to provide that miracle and help Los Blancos win the Champions League trophy for the fourteenth time.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago